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Definition of Politics

(noun) The art of the exercise of power; the combination of individuals or parties (groups) making decisions that affect others and institutions (i.e., government, legal system, military, police) that governs based on those decisions.

Example of Politics

  • In the United States, a politician goes on a publicity campaign to help them achieve the role of President.

Politics Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: pol·i·tics

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /pAHl-uh-tiks/
  • British English – /pOl-i-tiks/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /ˈpɑləˌtɪks/
  • British English – /ˈpɒlᵻtɪks/

Usage Notes

  • Types:
    • macropolitics
    • micropolitics

Related Quotation

  • “‘The personal is political‘ is a powerful slogan that was coined during the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s. It means that what happens in our individual, private lives—at places such as our jobs, clubs, homes, or schools—reflects the power dynamics in broader, public society. As the twentieth-century political scientist Harold Lasswell famously said, politics is the process of who gets what, when, and how. Feminism brings that concept from the public realm into our personal worlds. It recognizes that seemingly personal issues point to larger, institutionalized practices and are therefore legitimately political issues. Another way to understand this concept is to ask questions such as who gets the goods and resources in society and who bears the burdens? Who sits in positions of power in Fortune 500 companies and who cleans the company offices? Who does the bulk of parenting and who gets paid more on the job? Who is sexually bought and who buys sexual access to bodies? Who is statistically more likely to experience domestic violence and who are the violent offenders? Who gets catcalled on the street? And while we’re at it, we can ask who risks their lives in war. Who makes the decisions to go to war in the first place?” (Tarrant 2009:8–9).

Related Video

Additional Information

Related Terms


Henslin, James M. 2012. Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach. 10th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Tarrant, Shira. 2009. Men and Feminism. Berkeley, CA: Seal Press.

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Cite the Definition of Politics

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2017. “politics.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/politics/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

politics. (2017). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/politics/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2017. “politics.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/politics/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“politics.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2017. Web. 23 Jun. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/politics/>.